Last Updated: April 15, 2021, 11:26 pm

OPINION | Americans need to be required to get COVID-19 vaccination


John Ailenmoagbon, a senior accounting major from Lagos, Nigeria, has already received a first dose of the Moderna vaccine. He is planning to get his second shot at Dixie State University. Photo by Misha Mosiichuk.

This past year has been mentally exhausting for me. From my lack of a social life to my swim season being postponed, it has been nothing short of a whirlwind of emotions.

Before the pandemic, I was breaking school records and constantly going out with friends. Now, I sit in bed every night and watch Netflix while the world is on pause.

I am eager to return to normalcy, and with millions of vaccines rolling out every day, the world is one step closer to freedom.

However, freedom will come at a cost now. For example, 17 countries including Greece, Poland and Iceland are requiring travelers to provide proof of vaccination for COVID-19 in order to enter.

The American people have proved repeatedly they cannot quarantine and social distance, so our best bet is to require vaccination passports to allow a safe return for traveling and crowded venues.

According to the New York Times, “New York has rolled out ‘Excelsior Pass,’ billed by the state as ‘a free, fast and secure way to present digital proof of Covid-19 vaccination’ in case reopening sports and entertainment venues require proof of attendees’ status.”

Opening day for baseball looked a little different this year because of this new requirement. The San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees and New York Mets all demand proof of vaccination or testing to enter their ballparks.

The best way to ensure safety at your favorite sports games is to require vaccinations. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are both above 94% effective in preventing the virus, so why not protect yourself and others while enjoying the activities you love?

American universities are hotly debating whether or not to require proof of vaccination to return to campus this fall. Rutgers University in New Jersey and Cornell University in upstate New York are two of the first universities to announce they are enforcing proof of vaccination in order to enroll.

As a college student, I am ready to take in-person classes again, but I won’t feel safe unless the person next to me is vaccinated.

Schools requiring vaccinations for their students is not a new thing, either. Growing up, I remember having a vaccination card I had to give my school to make sure I was up to date on vaccines like polio, measles and rubella.

The COVID-19 vaccination card would be as simple as a yes or no stamp; it won’t invade privacy or raise health concerns.

This is not the first time a disease has spread throughout our country; the United States government intervened with pushing vaccines to ensure public health during the small pox epidemic in the beginning of the 19th century.

In a 1905 Supreme Court case ruling requiring citizens to be vaccinated against smallpox, Justice John Marshall Harlan said, “A community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members.”

The pandemic has changed the way we live life forever, and it will be a while until things return back to somewhat normalcy.

COVID-19 vaccinations will allow individuals to enjoy life again. In order to prevent the spread of the virus and ensure safety in large-scales, businesses need to require a vaccination passport.

I want to get back to watching basketball games live and going to concerts with friends as soon as possible, but I won’t feel safe unless it is ensured no one in the building has an active infection.

It is our responsibility to be respectful toward others, and a simple two-second shot and a paper to prove it will get us back to crowded events in no time.